Concert review: Toots and the Maytals

toots-and-the-maytals

The Kansas City Star

By Joel Francis

Toots and the Maytals rocked the Folly Theatre with a righteous rain of reggae in what has to be the first-ever Easter Saturday sunset service.

Toots Hibbert, his five-piece band and two female singers testified for two hours with the union of gospel and soul converted into groundbreaking reggae that had the near-capacity crowd dancing in the aisles, clapping on command and reveling in the spirit.

They didn’t waste any time getting to the good stuff. The opener, “Pressure Drop,” steamrolled right into classics like “Time Tough,” “Sweet and Dandy” and “Pump and Pride.”

Hibbert worked the crowd with the fervor of an evangelist with his energetic delivery and call and responses. The show was the fourth installment of “Cypress Avenue Live at the Folly,” and was its most successful to date.

The entire evening was a delight, but the highlights were a cover of “Country Roads Take Me Home,” and “54-46 Was My Number,” the final song of the night. The gospel moments, like the intro to “Country Roads Take Me Home” and the spiritual medley near the end of the main set had everyone singing, dancing and testifying.

The only blemish on an otherwise inspired evening was that Hibbert’s voice was difficult to hear all night. Shouts of “turn it up” resonated from the balcony, there was little the sound engineer could do to make Hibbert hold his microphone above chest level.

That his mic captured as much as it did is a testament to Hibbert’s powerful delivery. Before the show, one person mused how the show would work at the Folly, a space with limited room for dancing. He thought the Maytals were better suited for a venue like the Uptown.

He may have been right, but the staid surroundings didn’t stop anyone from having a great time. If they didn’t make it up in time for Easter services, one might understand: They’d already been taken to church.

Set list: Pressure Drop; Time Tough; Sweet and Dandy; Reggae Got Soul; Pump and Pride; Never Get Weary Yet; Bam Bam; Peeping Tom; Broadway Jungle; Country Roads (Take Me Home); Funky Kingston; True Love Is Hard To Find; Treat Me Good; Medley: It Was Written Down/Shining Light/Amen; Monkey Man. Encores: Love Gonna Walk Out On Me; Roots, Rock Reggae (jam); 54-46 Was My Number.

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